Yankees’ Hal Steinbrenner could go on a spending spree this off-season

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As the New York Yankees navigate the offseason, they face the challenge of managing a projected total payroll of $235.7 million. This figure is significantly lower than last season’s $280.1 million, leaving the team with approximately $45 million to allocate across various needs. Essential areas for investment include starting pitching, outfielders, bullpen support, and potentially a third baseman, depending on their confidence in Oswald Peraza and DJ LeMahieu.

Yankees’ Potential High-Profile Acquisitions

Rumors suggest that Yoshinobu Yamamoto, who could command a $200 million long-term deal, is a top target. This significant investment would impact the Yankees’ financial flexibility, especially considering other long-term contracts on their books.

The truth is that the Yankees have some contracts reaching their expiration over the next few years, with Anthony Rizzo’s deal essentially over after next season, which would save the team $20 million in luxury tax salary. DJ LeMahieu’s deal ends in 2026, and eventually, Giancarlo Stanton‘s contract will come to an end in 2028, so long-term deals will hopefully age much better than some of their expensive veterans currently on the roster.

Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes owner Hal Steinbrenner’s history of spending heavily when necessary, like the $438 million expenditure post-2013 season. This willingness to spend could benefit General Manager Brian Cashman, who has faced challenges in assembling a successful roster in recent years.

The Yankees could also pursue Juan Soto, set to earn $30 million in his final arbitration year. A long-term deal for Soto, a 25-year-old superstar, could reach around $40 million annually. Despite his defensive shortcomings, Soto’s offensive prowess makes him a desirable addition to offset the team’s offensive struggles.

MLB: San Diego Padres at Chicago White Sox
Sep 30, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; San Diego Padres left fielder Juan Soto (22) watches his RBI-double against the Chicago White Sox during the second inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Expensive Stars

However, signing both Yamamoto and Soto would surpass the $45 million threshold of their 2023 active payroll. Additional signings like Kevin Kiermaier on a one-year deal and extending Frankie Montas for 2024 would further strain the budget. Thus, if Steinbrenner is prepared to exceed last year’s spending by $35 million, the Yankees could secure impactful players while bolstering their depth.

The Yankees must balance this spending with the integration of minor-league prospects, ensuring a mix of fresh talent and experienced players. The emergence of prospects like Peraza, Wells, Dominguez, and pre-arbitration Volpe, coupled with strategic acquisitions, could guide the Yankees towards a more youthful and resilient roster, moving away from the pitfalls of investing in injury-prone or aging players.

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